Battle of Wits

From the Pit

With its traditional dislike of peacetime military preparedness, it seems incredible that the united States should have such a fine record of victories in war. While the secret of our success has puzzled historical touts, most of whom would still give 8 to 5 against our having logically won so many, Hollywood is less confused.

The trenchant analysis of scenario writers has brought the fascinating revelation that we win, primarily, not because the brass is so clever, but because our enemies are abysmally dumb. No piece of stupidity eludes them, and the dimmest of heroic intellects is more than a match for the whole general staff of any anti-U.S. army. Furthermore, Providence (Division of North American Affairs) has arranged that those nations that are first the enemies and then the allies of the United States regain their wits in time to help defeat the next moronic aggressor.

For instance, the British endured a spate of low-grade idiots in the ranks during the Revolution and the War of 1812. We have it on cinema graphic authority that American spays had only to assume a bogus West End accent to gain admission to the most secret of English planning sessions.

But by the First World War Britain had smartened up considerably. Now it was Germany's turn to produce the military dunces. How low the Prussian intelligence could sink was clearly demonstrated in the Gary Cooper epic Sergeant York. First, the gangling backwoods bumpkin captured a troop of Germans, mostly by making turkey-calling noises, then picking off the heads that popped up to investigate the ruckus.

But since 1945 there has ben a sudden shift in I.Q. In Stalag 17 we see a hint when one character warns "Remember, just because the krauts are dumb, that doesn't mean they're stupid." And in The Devil Makes Three several Germans--those helping Gene Kelly--seem almost smart.

The Russians, on the other hand, have gone downhill badly, as Mr. Potts Goes to Moscow demonstrates. And Clark Gable has really shown the commissars for the simps they are in the recent Never Let Me Go. The world situation is not so bad as it looks while we have intelligence on our side.